Judge just the opening for yourself: "I want to speak to you today about war and empire … (W)e are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security … (As) our empire expands we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves… We have forfeited the goodwill, the empathy the world felt for us after 9-11 … (W)e are part now of a dubious troika in the war against terror with Vladimir Putin and Ariel Sharon, two leaders who do not shrink in Palestine or Chechnya from carrying out acts of gratuitous and senseless violence."
If that can be defined as simply "antiwar," then bin Laden is anti-skyscraper.
"This is a war of liberation in Iraq," Hedges droned on, "but it is a war now of liberation of Iraqis from American occupation." This isn't the 1960s, Jane Fonda's not around; there's no talk of Amerika, and this isn't Vietnam.
Yet this New York Times reporter's thinking is firmly rooted in that worldview. Last October, Hedges was interviewed on the Bill-Moyers-funded leftist Web site TomPaine.com and said this of that era: "The defeat in Vietnam made us a better nation and a better people … We were forced to accept very unpleasant truths about ourselves -- our own capacity for evil. I think that that process, especially during the Reagan years, began to disintegrate."
No, this man isn't just "antiwar." In a very real way he opposes the American ideal -- condemning her "evil" while celebrating her defeat in the hopes that by rejecting our American identity we could become … better.
How saddened he must be by America's youth, who booed him off the stage and who obviously aren't buying his radicalism. How tone deaf he must be not to realize the degree to which he was offending his audience. "I didn't expect that," he said. "How can you expect to have anyone climb on the stage and turn your mike off?"
And what of the Gray Lady herself? Times Watch.org director Clay Waters points out this delicious irony: On Monday, May 19, the paper carried a captioned photograph of graduates walking out of a St. Joseph's University commencement to protest a speech by Sen. Rick Santorum, but has yet to say a thing about its own reporter being gonged. "All the news that's fit to print" my eye.